After planning our yearly schedule and our weekly routine, it’s finally time to break down our day. Is there a particular order to our day? Which subject do we plan to lead with and how much time are we giving for each subject?
There are two significant factors left off the charts above. Do you notice them?
The first, is that no times are listed. This is meant to be a routine, not a demanding schedule. If we start at 8 o’clock, that’s great. If we don’t start until 10, that’s alright, too. (However, I will confess, this mama much prefers starting at 8 o’clock. It gets the day started nice and early, leaving plenty of quality afternoon time.)
The second, is that no amount of time is given for each subject. Once you’ve been educating for any length of time, you’ll notice that many subjects ‘cross-over’ into another category. For example: If we are studying biology, we might be reading sections of literature on famous microbiologists or writing papers on our findings. If we are studying history, we might cover famous scientists or mathematicians, giving time to their theories and ideas. I would be hard pressed to write down every minute spent studying each subject. Thus, we merely schedule each subject into our day, allowing for the Lord to lead our time. There are days we well exceed the suggested 55 minute course, and days when we finish quickly. As we are studying for mastery and not to simply push through the material, this fits our family’s needs.
So, how do we calculate how much work should be done in a day? Thankfully, most of our material comes already labeled with lesson numbers. Simply doing one lesson per day will get us through the book before the end of the year. Some curriculum does not have these helpful labels, thus mom takes the time to calculate our pace. I do this by dividing the number of pages in each book by the number of days we plan to do school, e.g., our science book has 360 pages, we will be schooling for 180 days, therefore, in order to finish the material by the end of the school year, we will be completing two pages of work per day. Keep in mind, however, not every day is spent in the book; we also like to take time for activities and field trips. Thus, I usually plan a number of pages to be completed each week, giving us the freedom to negotiate our time for such activities.
For brevity’s sake, I did not list each area covered under Language Arts on this chart. However, to clarify for whomever might be interested, Language Arts includes spelling, writing, literature, and reading, as well as grammar and composition.
Looking at the chart above, one might assume all our children study the same subject at the same time. This is not so. The chart is merely organized for visual purposes so our children know our routine; not because they are expected to be on the same subject at the same time. The opposite tends to be true. We study Bible together, as a family. Then our youngest starts on his handwriting exercises while his sisters begin their language arts lessons. When they are done, no matter how long it takes them, they move on. No time limits, no restrains. They finish when they are finished.
You might also notice we study a few subjects together, mainly science and history. How do we do this? The area of study is chosen based on our oldest student’s needs. A short lesson is given, which even the younger children can understand. Then the younger two are given short, fun assignments based on our lessons. In addition, the older two are given more challenging reading assignments which correspond to the lesson, along with projects of their own. (It’s interesting to note, not only does our family prefer this method of learning, they also learn more than what our state suggests at each level.)
After a lunch break and some free time, our family works on chores together. (Yes, this too is planned into our day. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!) Each day of the week has its own chore list to be accomplished.
Electives are a part of the daily routine. However, our children are permitted to finish these at their leisure. They are welcome to knock them out before we even begin our learning day, work on them throughout the day, or finish them off as they are skirting into bed. Some electives are done on a daily basis (Spanish/Typing/Music); some are project based (Computer Technology/Film).
Lastly, please note our Friday routine is very different from the rest of our week. This day is reserved for learning ‘in the field’. We haunt our local library; visit with friends; go on field trips; attend homeschooling functions; and, generally speaking, have fun!
One final thought: Anyone who knows us well, has seen us out and about, or read this blog for any length of time, knows we love to read. Reading is not something I schedule in, because it is not necessary. We read like we breathe: constantly. In fact, getting them to put down a book is the challenge!
We’d love to know… Do you have a daily routine? We’d love to hear about it!